Why Color Theory Is Your Friend

By Leora Wenger of Websites for Small Biz

This post was imported from Suess's Pieces and may contain broken links and missing images

You know how to write. You have taken various English classes, you have used a thesaurus, you have edited your friends’ papers. Why would you need to know anything about color theory? Isn’t knowing how to write good enough?

Let’s start with what you don’t want to do with your blog.

  • Use a blue font on a black background.
  •  Choose a busy background with many different bright colors.
  •  Pick two opposite colors (say, red and green) as the main colors of your site.

Why? Because consciously or unconsciously, readers will get irritated and not want to read your content. In contrast, learn a little about color theory. Take a look at the color wheel, and note which colors are opposite one another. Rarely do green and red or blue and orange work well on a website.

How to make the colors of your blog page work in your favor.

  • Choose a color palette. There are fun websites that can help you make color choices:  Colour Lovers – Color BlenderKuler by Adobe.
  • Whenever possible, use black as the color and white as the background for a body of text. This doesn’t mean you can’t use color at all, but use it for areas of the page that are not the main content. Images often look great on a black or dark background, but light text on a dark background is hard to read. If you want to use two contrasting colors, you might want to test the colors with this tool: Colour Contrast Check.
  • Rethink fancy link colors. I had used red as a link color on one of my blogs; a reader who is colorblind told me he found the link hard to differentiate from the text. I have since switched on that blog to bright blue, which is more standard as a link color.
  • When choosing an image for a post, do its colors work with the overall color scheme? If you find your post images are often clashing with your blog background, you might want to choose a simpler blog background.
  • Learn about color associations. For example, blue subconsciously implies security. Green is often earthy, and purple signifies royalty. You can learn more about color choices from this post on color theory and the meaning of color.

Can you remember any sites that had an awful use of colors? Any sites with colors that worked smoothly and beautifully? Unless you are purposely looking for well-designed sites, you may not even notice that the designer chose colors that work together.


About Leora: Leora Wenger builds websites for small businesses, libraries and three Rutgers University departments. She loves tweaking PHP, composing a striking web design, stretching WordPress, and publicizing sites. In her spare time she’s a mom, wife and daughter. Every now and then she squeezes in the time to paint a watercolor or two.

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